Is it a good idea for startups to invest in automated testing? When is manual testing the best option?
An innovative concept is not a ticket to success for startups. In essence, this is half the battle, while the rest is its proper realization and comprehensive testing. To enchant end-users, attract investors, and establish a stellar reputation, it is essential to take care of product quality from the very first jump. Today few startups cut corners on testing, but most of them are faced with the difficult choice of whether to implement automation testing or get by with manual testing. Are you also one of those who are puzzled by this? Then, read on.
Brief Overview of Automated And Manual Testing
In general, there are two major approaches to software testing - manual testing and automated testing.
Manual testing is performed by QA engineers who check software using their hands, eyes, and intelligence. In essence, they mimic end-users behavior to make sure that a system works in a way stated in project requirements. While manual testers are guided by test cases, they are free to get spontaneous and detect bugs on the fly using scenarios that have not been covered with test cases.
Automated testing has the same goal which is to ensure high quality by checking software behavior against the requirements. The difference is that test scripts once written by an automated QA engineer then get executed by an automation tool without any human interaction. Automated tests can be executed as many times as needed, and whenever needed. Test reports are also generated automatically. Test automation helps to complete work quickly and without engaging a legion of human resources. While automated testing is definitely more accurate than manual testing, it is too straightforward and checks only functionality and scenarios covered with test scripts.
Testing Procedure In Startups
What you should understand is that any testing process every time begins with manual testing activities. In such a way a QA team gets acquainted with the software and its functionality. Besides, it helps QA engineers to understand whether the product is stable enough and define the scope of automation.
What we want to say with this is that manual and automated testing are not isolated. On the contrary, they are interrelated and complement each other. Thus, test cases are the backbone of test scripts.
Additionally, it is worth remembering that not every test scenario can be automated as well as not all aspects of software functioning can be checked manually. Therefore, even if you are determined to implement automated testing from the very beginning, your startup still requires the engagement of manual testers.
Is Automated Testing a Really Good Idea For a Startup?
Automated testing is considered to be a boon for the IT industry due to its numerous advantages. The main among them are speed, accuracy, better test coverage, reusability, and many more.
So, your startup can benefit a lot from test automation. Then, why does the question of whether to automate ever arise? The thing is that it is a well-known fact that test automation requires a significant upfront investment that can be repaid in a long time. Instead of ramping up your team of manual testers in order to cope with the continuously growing work scope, you just rerun previously written automated tests and add new ones as your startup evolves and matures. In other words, your ROI depends on the frequency of test runs. The more frequently tests are rerun, the higher return on investment. Consequently, the final answer to the above-asked question always depends on the peculiarities of your software product. Here are the most common situations when automation is worth consideration:
New features will be continuously added and the software will be scaled in the years to come. In this case, automation of smoke and regression testing can save a ton of time and effort.
Your software has critical modules where even a tiny human error may have a disastrous impact on a business. Dealing with repetitive and tedious work like multiple inputs with different data, a human tester can easily get bored and distracted which can affect testing accuracy and efficiency. On the flip side, automated testing can easily cope with this and provide accurate results.
Certain features of your software require very time-consuming testing. Automated tests can complete the work within a few hours, while a human tester would spend a few working days on it.
Performance testing is in a league of its own because it hardly can be executed manually. QA teams always use automated tools to simulate a certain intensity of loads.
Automated testing, when properly implemented and maintained, always provides better accuracy, high quality, and a significantly shorter time-to-market cycle.
To Automate or Not Automate That is The Question
As we have already found out, manual testing is essential and cannot be replaced with automated testing. For example, exploratory and ad-hoc testing are always executed manually. Besides, direct human interaction is required when it comes to the assessment of software usability. Moreover, automated testing is also based on manual inspection.
Therefore, we can state firmly that manual testing is inevitable, while automated testing is not always relevant in spite of the plethora of doubtless benefits that it has. The thing is that automated testing has one but rather serious constraint - it is cost-effective only for large projects. Consequently, if your startup is ambitious and rapidly growing, then the implementation of automated testing is the way to go. On the other hand, if your startup is a small project, and you are not going to scale, then manual testing alone can cover all your needs. Anyway, we recommend you consult with a professional QA service provider that can give you expert advice.
Basic Test Coverage
If your QA team has confirmed the relevance of automated testing implementation, then the next step to be taken is to decide on test coverage. It is a responsibility of an automation QA engineer. Performance testing, smoke testing, and regression testing are the main candidates for automation. Test cases that match some of the following requirements are usually chosen for automation:
Frequently repeated tests;
Tests that suggest the use of a vast amount of data;
Tests that require stiffly accurate outcomes;
Monotonous and time-incentive tests;
Tests that should be run on several platforms.
So these are some basic things that are worth knowing even if you do not specialize in automated testing.
Startups often face super strict deadlines and restrained budgets. But even in this case, it is not advised to ignore the QA phase. Such negligence can result in startup failure or inability to scale in the future. While these days the majority is well aware of the importance of testing, many teams still face a dilemma about whether to implement automated testing. Automation is a helpful tool that has already helped multiple businesses establish a smart development process, boost productivity, save money, accelerate product delivery, scale up, and mature. Still, it is not one-size-fits-all. This approach brings benefits provided its implementation is reasonable. If you are not sure whether test automation is a good idea for your startup, do not hesitate to reach out to experts for consultation and explanation. At DeviQA, we are always ready to help you.